FLORIDA'S BUTTERFLY NET SPRING 2014

FLORIDA'S BUTTERFLY NET No. 2 May 2014

Hello volunteers to the second edition of the Southwest Florida Monarch Migration Study newsletter Florida's Butterfly Net

Welcome to the wonderful world of butterflies in Southwest Florida

Aline and I have Giant And Black Swallowtails, Orange Bard Sulfurs, Monarchs, Queens, Fritillaries, polin different stages of life that will soon will join over 150 zebra long wings were leased in the last month.

Some will be going to teachers that we provide at no cost a cage, host plant and caterpillars as part of our "Cats for kids" program.

There is a unbelievable turn around in the number of monarch butterflies in my garden starting last week. We have tagged and sampled 17 butterflies in the last 10 days.

This newsletter will also be on line at my Southwest Florida butterfly blog:

http://nickiebodv@blogspot.com

LOW MONARCH COUNT THIS WINTER IN LEE COUNTY

Although the number of available wild Monarch butterflies to tag is reduced this winter we have had a few re-sightings reported.
With a new database we plan to compile all of our sightings and email you the details when they happen.

We have recorded over 40 documented sightings of previously tagged butterflies.

Still waiting for a long-range or out-of-state re-sighting of one of our tagged butterflies.

MONARCH RETURN HOME AFTER VACATION FLIGHT

Monarch #0019F was raised from a egg, emerge on March 13th. 2014, tagged, tested for OE and released. 41 days later on May 4th. he returned to my garden with his tag intact and was recaptured, tested and again released. My previous longest interval was 81 days.

Today May 4 Th. we have observed two other recently tagged Monarch butterflies.

The monarchs in my garden are breeding, laying eggs and are very active and aggressive. We have
a large variety of nectar plants in bloom and milk weed available at this time.

We also have four unbelievable observations of them actually chasing our Purple Martins.

When we tag more than one butterfly in a day we put a secondary tag of different colors or shapes on the opposite wing. It is easier to quickly identify it from a distance allowing me to know what the tag number is even if I cannot recapture the butterfly.

WEST PALM BEACH WILL BE OUR FIRST SATELLITE TAGGING AREA:

I am very happy to announce that the West Palm Beach NABA Atala chapter president Terry Jabar will become a additional Coordinator for our SW Florida monarch migration study. She
will distribute Tags and recruit tagging and O E sampling volunteers in the West Palm Beach area. Tags will be Identified with their telephone number.

She has receive tags and will report there distribution and any
re-sightings to our Southwest Florida Monarch monitoring program coordinator Gayle Edwards.

HOW ABOUT I WALK IN THE PARK

Robin Gardner and I walk on and off trail at many of the county parks and 2020 land regularly. Always something exciting like the three very large tortoises seen last week at
Hickeys Creek. Generally can't give you more than one day notice but everybody's welcome. Call me if if you're interested.

OUR PROJECT, IMPROVEMENTS AND ITS GOALS

Development of the Southwest Florida Monarch
Migration Study is primarily concentrated to the area around Fort Myers with a few exceptions and was initially started to learn more about both the resident and migrating butterflies in our area. Tag development, tag testing and printing of the tags , tag distribution, record keeping has been done primarily
by Gayle Edwards and myself along with the unselfish gift of their time and dedication from the many volunteers that tag, sample for OE and report important information about the areas butterflies back to us.
Our tagging program shows improvement with a unexpected high re- sighting rate of approximately 4%of tagged butterflies.

Universities, research organizations and and butterfly enthusiasts from other states have contacted me for details about our study.

With the additional help from the Cape Coral high school students we can now consider limited expansion of our program.
We welcome Satellite groups like the West Palm Beach NABA chapter to help recruit volunteers, record and distribute tags in and other areas of the state.
Our number one goal remains that the information we collect will better understand the health of the butterflies in Florida, determine where and how to improve the habitat for all
our butterfly. We plan to continue improving the accuracy of the information we collect and confirm that it is useful and beneficial to the the research being done by universities or other organizations we are affiliated with.

TAGS AND OE SAMPLE KITS CONTINUE TO BE PROVIDED AT NO COST

Individuals, gardening clubs or NABA chapters interested in joining the Southwest Florida Monarch Migration study please contact Gayle Edwards or myself.

I will consider providing specific identifiable tags for schools and satellite groups.

Volunteers need to provide their own nets and pay postage to return samples to the University of Georgia.

YOUNG ADULTS ADDED TO OUR
PROJECT

I am pleased to announce we are working with a group of junior and senior students at Cape Coral High School science class and their instructor Laurie Shaw that will continue into the next school year.

These junior and senior students in addition to their classroom studies are volunteering their own time by participating in an after school sessions studying environmental issues and are in the process of planting a very large and diverse butterfly garden.

This all started with an invitation from Laurie for me to visit the school and tell them about our monarch tagging and OE sampling program. I asked Cheryl Anderson curator at the Tom Allen butterfly observatory at Rotary Park in Cape Coral to attend. We were given a tour of the garden and welcomed the opportunity to assist them. In addition to providing them will numerous host and nectar plants we suggested a general layout of the garden and proper planting procedures.

OUR FIRST FOLLOW-UP

On February 1st. Cheryl Anderson, Bob Dennis, Aline and Myself conducted a 4hr. session that included my video presentations on tagging and OE sampling and the monarchs
migration. We continued with raising butterflies, butterfly gardening, and a discussion about developing a ongoing butterfly research center at the school.

Next was the hands-on tagging of live monarch butterflies, sampling then for OE, and recording the samples to be sent to the University of Georgia.

We finished the session with the students touring the butterfly house and gardens at Rotary Park.

On April 14 Cheryl supplied additional adult monarchs . With the indoor raising cages we provided the students are able to raise butterflies collected from any life cycle stage.They will tag and sample them for OE, before releasing them in the schools garden.

I printed tags specifically for the school for quick easy identification. The first line (CAPE) is red letters, second line black telephone number, third line is the tag number and the tag is white and the shape is oval.
Making the local public aware there are tagged butterflies in the area is a key portion of our program and will be there next step.

MAKING OUR DATA ACCURATE AND USEFUL FOR OTHER ORGANIZATIONS

I am providing new data fields for two expert computer
students from their group to build a database that will contain the schools project information and a entirely new database for the Southwest Florida Monarch migration research project. This single database will contain the necessary information about our entire project including compleat identification of our volunteers, our staff, tag distribution, tag recovery, OE sampling results, etc. When finished we will be able to provide a summarized reports of each segment of our project on Excel workbooks spreadsheets usable by the universities, the other agencies we are collaborating with and keep our volunteers current on the progress and accomplishments of our program.

Yearly local and state butterfly counts will also be added to the information in our database

GOOGLE MAP UPDATES AND IMPROVEMENTS

Google map of "Lee County Butterflies "will be updated to show where butterflies were tagged and where they were recovered in addition to showing the locations of butterfly gardens and parks in the county.

OUR VOLUNTEERS PLANTED AND DISTRIBUTED WELL OVER 2000 MILKWEED DURING 2013 IN LEE COUNTY

Major plantings were at Manatee Park and a number of schools in Lee County.

If you need plant or have plants to donate please let us know. Seeds are available from Nick at no charge if you send me a stamp self-addressed envelope.

TO CUT OR NOT TO CUT NONNATIVE MILKWEED IN THE
WINTER

I have spoken about my concerns that cutting back or eliminating non-native milkweed in southern Florida during the winter months may may have the unintended consequences that could further diminish or completely eliminate our dwindling resident and migrating population.

Native milkweed such as Tuberosa or swamp milkweed is very sparse in the Fort Myers area. In my opinion there is definitely not enough to sustain any viable population. Good or bad I believe our resident and migrating population depends almost 100% on non native milkweed.

OVER 200 BUTTERFLIES SAMPLE FOR OE IN SOUTHWEST FLORIDA

Dara Satterfield from the University of Georgia sent me a complete list of the OE sampling results for the last two years.
The report shows most of our butterflies with a high concentration of OE. I will either send out the report or put it on my blog. We have added a number of new volunteers to the list in the last three months
Thanks for your hard work.

ARE THE BUTTERFLIES IN SOUTHERN FLORIDA BUILDING A TOLERANCE TO OE

From my own experience and after polling other volunteers that have raised hundreds of Monarch butterflies over the years it appears that the fact is our population has a higher ratio of spores then eastern monarchs yet we have experienced less than a handful of suspected deaths had occurred from OE.
I pose the question to Dara Satterfield from the Odum School of Ecology at the University of Georgia of whether there was a possibility that our butterflies could have developed a tolerance or resistance to OE.
Dara is our liaison between Prof. Sonia Altizer who heads up the OE research at the UG University.

Dara sent me a research report on this very subject from the university of Chicago and I included the articles web page-on this subject.

The American Naturalist, Vol. 182, No. 6 (December 2013), pp. E235-E248
Published by: The University of Chicago Press for The American Society of Naturalists http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/673442

After reading the article he number of times I do not believe I am qualified to give an accurate summary of their findings.

I am going to ask Jim Dunford our scientific advisor, Dara Satterfield and Prof. Altizer for their experts assessment.

KAREN OBERHAUSER FROM UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA WOULD LIKE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM OUR GROUP

Rearing: When people collect monarch eggs and larvae to rear, they are already checking for Oe prevalence. If you could also record when monarchs produce parasitoid wasps or flies, it would help with our study of monarch mortality. I’ve attached the data sheet that we use for these collections, which also has information on Oe, since we collaborate with Monarch Health.

ARE GENETICALLY ALTERED PLANTS THE MAJOR CAUSE OF THE DECLINE IN OUR BUTTERFLY POPULATION?

With her permission I will post a paper on this blog written by a Cape Coral High School students that presents many alarming facts about what genetically altered plant are doing to our environment, our health and the health of our butterflies.

Her paper is the reason I am ADDING TO OUR PRODJECT how genetically altered plants are affecting the monarch butterflies in Florida to our SOUTHWEST FLORIDA MONARCH MIGRATION STUDY!

If you ate interested in reading this paper I will send it to you.

WHAT IS REALY HAPPENING??????

In 1955 I was a young farmer managing a 180 acre farm while a student studying agriculture at Plattville State college in Wisconsin. I had de-tasseled corn to cross pollinate and had a fair understand of how and why certified corn seeds were produced by company's like Pioneer and Dupont.

I do not believe genetically enhanced plants was even in the dictionary at that time.

By 1989 I had retired, moved to Florida and a new couple moved in to our neighborhood. I will call him "Ted". Ted managed a large farm in the area for a foreign company that was amongst other things experimenting with producing plants that could produce more than one vegetable or flower from a single vine or plant.
They were also looking at the insects and insecticide use here in Florida.
There were a number of companies doing similar experiments in California.
I was amazed when he told me about the number of 24 hour a day security guards that patrolled the perimeter of all these farm.

Ted and I became good friends but had numerous controversial discussions. Ted defended his company and I expressed my fears of what I felt were extreme changes like pesticide resistance plants and how pollen distribution could create some intended and unintended consequences. My major concern at that time whether heirloom plants were being contaminated from those plants.

For a number of years and as recent as Feb. 9 2014 when I talked to the Atala NABA chapter in West Palm Beach I have included those concerns in my presentations speaking about the butterfly as an important indicator of the environments health, their importance as pollinators , changes in there historical migratory patterns, genetically altered plants and the serious decline in our butterfly populations.

Thou comforting to hear others like this group share my concerns while others are completely oblivious and have no regard for facts.

Unfortunately many of my fears are possibly becoming a reality.

Today 20% of the sweet corn in the United States is grown in Southern Florida, primarily in West Palm and Henry County's which are adjacent to Fort Myers and the Gulf Coast.

I do not know, but suspect this sweet corn seed is genetically enhanced like corn grown in the Midwest corn belt .

I do not know what crops in Florida, like cotton, peanuts may be also being genetically altered.

Are genetically altered plants affecting our butterfly population?

Are they causing us allergic reactions or intolerance to certain foods?

The regulatory framework for determining whether each of these chemicals are safe is unclear. WHY!!!!

I have a family, grandchildren and a great granddaughter is the reason I want a answer to this question.

Here is a parable; When younger some 80 years ago I was told by the tobacco industry that cigarettes were safe. Do I need to say more.

After reading a article by one of the group I realize how little I knew and how much I could learn.

.

THE NETS ALMOST EMPTY EXCEPT FOR CLOSING THOUGHTS

A little over two years ago we started this project. Our volunteers have worked very hard to get us this far. I hope our newsletter will help you better understand why we believe it is important to recognize how butterflies are alerting us to serious problems in our environment.
Southern Florida in addition to the 50 or more native butterflies has a similar but unique population of resident
and nonresident monarch butterflies found no where else in the world.
Our program monitors both the health and habitat for these and other butterflies.

We welcome you to join us.
For further information or questions about our program contact:

Gayle Edwards Email: Flmonarch@gmail.com

Nick Bodven 239 694-2108

Email: butterflynet@yahoo.com or shandys@embarqmail.com




About Me (CLICK)

Ft MYERS, Fl, United States

Nick Bodven

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

MILKWEED CUT BACK UPDATE


 NO MORE WINTER  CUTTING BACK OF  NON NATIVE MILKWEED IN SOUTHERN FLORIDA






Monarch Joint Venture Web Sight :   CLICK HERE


These recommendations are  applicable in south Florida (South of Orlando), where a distinctive, non-migratory population of monarchs has long been established.
However, native milkweed planting is still encouraged in this area.

About the discussion on cutting back tropical milkweed: We recently produced this factsheet online through the Monarch Joint Venture website:
We tried to clarify in the factsheet that we do not recommend cutting back milkweed south of Orlando in south Florida.
It was put in  after my conversation with you. I think this was an important point.
 I'm so glad you clued me in to that.


 Because the south Florida monarchs appear to be a distinct, non-migratory population that has been established for some time and depends on tropical milkweed, we are not recommending cutting it back there.

We are encouraging gardeners farther north, especially along the Gulf coast and in Texas, to cut their tropical milkweed, however. We are finding such high rates of the protozoan parasite OE in these monarchs that breed year-round along the Gulf coast, that we are concerned and want to discourage year-round breeding in those areas. The people involved in this discussion included Lincoln Brower, Chip Taylor, Karen Oberhauser, Wendy Caldwell, Sonia Altizer, and me.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Friday, November 1, 2013

NEW VOLUNTEERS

Welcome new volunteers to our monarch tagging and O E sampling program
1. Tagging and sampling will be conducted on raise or wild captured monarch butterflies on a year around basis. 

2. Volunteers may participate in either or both programs. There are no time restraints or quotas and you can  determine the amount of time you wish to devote to the programs. 

3. Tags and OE sampling kits are provided at no charge.

If you participate in the OE sampling program you will have the expense of postage to send those samples to the University of Georgia If you plan to  capture wild butterflies purchase of a net is necessary. 

He evening or weekend training session will be made available to all volunteers upon request. Included are the reason we are monitoring the migration of monarchs and sampling for OE, the raising of butterflies, the lifecycle of butterflies and butterfly gardening.

Contact Nick Bodven at. 239-694-2108 or email shandys@embarqmail.com  


Thursday, August 15, 2013

MY POSITION ON SCARLET MILKWEED

This is my answer to a resent newspaper article recommending removal of nonnative milkweed and planting native milkweed.


My thought on planting scarlet milk weed.

I will continue recommending planting scarlet milkweed   until  adequate research and scientist agree that scarlet or non native milkweed  is proven detrimental to our environment or  Monarch population. I also recommend gardeners attempt adding native milkweed.

This has also be the position of our tagging group and  as a group we need to  review this subject in the next few months.

(I hope to make native  seeds or plants  available with instructions on raising. My attempts as  others have found little of no success with some species. More on the difficulty of raising non native milkweed to come in later articles.)


Native milkweed is rarely found on our butterfly walks in the parks an on 20/20 land. In the past 15 years covering thousands of acres I have only found 4 locations with a total of less  then 25 plants. I am not saying there is not more, we just have not found them.
 I found no caterpillars or sign that leaves were being eaten. This lead me to believe  there may not be enough native milkweed in 3 county area around Fort Myers Florida to sustain the resident or migrating population we are seeing if it is reduced or eliminated.  ( This is only my assumption not backed up with facts. )

I see another possible indicator away from urban development with more concentration of gardens with non native milk weed.
 Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary’s July 2013  butterfly survey.

 1640 adults of 37 different species were identified and recorded 2 Monarch butterflies recorded. 2012 there were non.

With the server decline in the monarch population southern Florida may have to become a annual winter sanctuary like Mexico. I do not want to see unintended consequences by eliminating our primary food source for the monarch that live in S.W. Florida.

 I will continue to encourage the universities of Florida, Georgia and Minnesota to target  research toward  our migrating and resident monarch butterflies  and determine if our native milkweed species can sustain a healthy environment.

Out tagging program and OE sampling hopefully aid there research. Example: By recovering tagged OE infected butterflies we may be able to determine changes in there longevity compared to non infected butterflies and dose OE infection change with the seasons that have migrating butterflies.



I sent the article to Professor Sonia Altizer leading researcher and monarch expert  at the University of Georgia. This was her reply.

Hi Nick

You're right that this is an issue that is currently under study by Dara, me, and others.  Our best hypothesis is that tropical milkweed can change the migratory behavior of monarchs, and might promote the transmission of a protozoan parasite, but the impacts of this probably depend on when, where and how much tropical milkweed is planted.   With our data collection efforts currently  underway, we should know a great deal more and can make some scientifically justifiable recommendations to gardeners about whether and how to plant and manage the tropical milkweeds.  For example, it might be that simply cutting these plants back during key times of the year could be effective, or avoiding planting the tropical milkweeds along major monarch migration flyways during the fall months. 

You can find out more on why we think tropical milkweeds could be problematic in this article I wrote for a Georgia publication:
http://www.eealliance.org/assets/Documents/MAG/mag-spring-10-chrysalis.pdf

South Florida is probably a special case because of the very mild climate year-round and the fact that curassavica has been there for many decades as an ornamental and naturalized weed.  I'm not sure I would generalize recommendations on not planting curassavica to the South Florida region, because this location supports a very different community of butterflies than the rest of the southeastern US, and has a subtropical rather than temperate zone ecology.  In other parts of the southeast, and especially along major monarch migration flyways such as the Florida panhandle and eastern Texas, I would be more concerned about the tropical milkweed dissemination.

I wish we had some clear answers to your question.   In general, I think it's a good idea to promote the planting of native milkweeds by gardeners whenever possible.  Milkweeds native to your region might include Asclepias humistrata, lanceolata, incarnata, and viridis.  All of these should behave as perennials, and you might b e able to find and distribute seeds from native plant nurseries or from special growers.  For example:
http://www.growingwildnursery.com/plants/a-z-plant-list-botanical-name.html

I think if you have the opportunity to promote these other species, which as you note are presently quite rare, and take more TLC to grow well, this might be well worth the effort!   It's not our intention to discourage people from planting milkweed, but just to say - if you can promote the native species, then go for it.

I hope this addresses some of your concerns -

All the best, Sonia

Monday, April 22, 2013

new 2

RELEASED 100 ZEBRAS THIS WEEK

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

NETTING OE SAMPLING AND TAGGING

video
CLICK ON ARROW STARTS VIDIO- BOX FOR FULL SCREEN

Sampling for OE can be done in conjunction with tagging

If you can participate in this study, I will see that you receive specific instructions and a research kit from the University of Georgia.
Collecting data would involve catching monarchs and collecting a sample from their abdomens. This method is easy, fast, and does not hurt the butterfly.
You can collect samples whenever you have the time.
You have no quotas or deadlines. We will tag and take samples all year, although a concentrated effort targets the winter and spring Monarch migrations.

The lab at the University of Georgia, are interested in studying how different migration patterns of monarchs affect their levels of infection from the protozoan parasite Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE). To investigate this issue, they are inviting us to participate in collecting samples from any monarchs you observe in your area. OE is a fascinating protozoan (single-celled) parasite that cannot infect humans, but can make butterflies sick or die. (more information at: http://www.monarchparasites.org

The Odum School of Ecology at the university welcomed us to join them and participate in Dr. Sonia Altizer's research on monarch parasites.
Project Monarch Health: Southern Initiative

BUTTERFLY MAP

Butterfly Map Of  S. W. Florida

Click On  Link http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF&msa=0&msid=203767466417705734835.000499e84e3f77b53745b&mid=1296704854

If you would like to add your garden or have a good location to view Butterflies and would like it posted on our map email the details and location to  shandys@embarqmail.com